August 7th, 2013
It’s been 4 years since I polled e-book purchasers and blog readers about their opinion on PDF e-book layout. And there’s been a lot of things happen in the world of e-books in the last 4 years, namely the rise of tablets. So the poll below is intended to help me understand how most people read PFRE PDF e-books.
What made me realize this subject needs revisiting is the story that a purchaser of one of the PFRE e-books told me not long ago. He said he was reading the e-book on his iPad in a public cafeteria during lunch and a lady nearby watching him read the e-book was making fun of him because he kept zooming in and zooming out while he was reading. So I tried it for a while, and yes, that’s what you tend to do… position, zoom in, zoom out reposition. The current font size is too small for everyone to comfortably read on a tablet.
Since hearing this story I’ve done some experimenting with the e-book layout and come to the following conclusions:
- Three column landscape (horizontal) format (the current e-book layout) is great for reading on laptops and large monitors but far from ideal for use on tablets.
- A single column portrait (vertical) format works best on tablets and is most like the Kindle e-book experience. No, I’m not going to do these e-books in Kindle format or iBook format because PDFs work everywhere and are highly portable, it’s just the best format for this kind of publication.
- Adobe Reader and OS X PDF display applications all have a mode that shows two pages side by side that looks effectively like a multi-column landscape format.
- Even when printed the landscape (horizontal) format is unconventional enough so not everyone agrees how alternate pages are to be printed. That is some would bind the book at the left and some would bind it at the top.
So given these conclusions I’ve pretty much decided to switch back to a vertical format for all of the e-books as they are updated so they work well on tablets. After all most of the world is moving to tablets especially for e-book reading. But, I’d still like to hear your opinions so please take the following poll and leave comments.
Update: Yes, I know, it is simplistic to assume you only use one device to read e-books… but tell me what your primary reading device is.